Men. We are always searching to find the better versions of ourselves. But too often, those versions are ones that have been conditioned by the world we see in front of us, instead of the world we feel inside of us. We look to be superheroes instead of simply being superb men.
“I’m big enough. I’m strong enough. I’m fast enough. Even if you beat me today, I’m coming back tomorrow.” – Terry Crews
Terry Crews, internationally renowned actor and comedian, would use this internal mantra when he was learning football as a kid. It was an inner voice that he used to crush any fear inside him and to earn a name and respect from the older guys that would tackle him hard during pick-up football games in the streets.
Crews ended up playing for a number of teams in the National Football League before becoming an actor. He landed major roles in television series and blockbuster films like Everybody Hates Chris, White Chicks, The Longest Yard and The Expendables.
Sharing his own personal story in his book Manhood, Crews looks back on the villainous characteristics that men often use to power their hustle, ambition and success. Characteristics like anger and pride. In the early stages of his football career, he reflects on the how he was motivated in his youth.
“I was young and I was angry, now I can see that anger hurt me more than anyone else. There were times when it became a form of self sabotage, because when I was mad, I was often blinded to the possibilities of my life.” – Terry Crews
Crews didn’t transition easily from success on the football field to the large roles in television and film. The end of his football career and the decision to move to Hollywood financially drained his ability to support his wife and kids. Knowing that he could no longer go on without providing for the ones he loved, he picked up manual labor in North Hollywood, showing up at 5 a.m. to work eight hours and earn only $50 after taxes.
“I’ve got to do anything it takes. Understand it’s on you. No one’s going to help you. You might be sweeping floors for a while. This might be your life now.” – Terry Crews
This was a drastic contrast to the life he had as a pro football player but it was also the humbling experience where Crews learned about how destructive pride can be for men. His superhero-sized ambition had turned into a monster of an ego. It prevented him from becoming successful throughout his career but more importantly, it damaged his ability to foster healthy relationships with others.
Men have been conditioned by society to see ambition and hustle as necessary parts of being a success of superhero proportions. But if we’re not careful, those qualities can actually feed villains within us, like pride and rage. These monsters grow bigger until they hurt ourselves and the ones around us, and we don’t realize the extent of our damage until it is too late.
So how can we men change our ways and still stay on the path to greatness?
Follow Terry Crews. He is a man who made the transition from the super hero mentality to the better human reality with this internal mantra:
“Humble yourself. Discover what your monsters are. Be honest with yourself. The real secret to manhood is having courage to be man enough to support the ones who make you great.” – Terry Crews
Further Reading: Manhood: How to Be A Better Man-or Just Live With One by Terry Crews
Image Credit: The Redskins Blog